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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/10/2017

     After the breakup of the Beatles, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began creating solo material in earnest. Some of their creations were regarded as inflammatory for the time, including the release discussed in this letter, Unfinished Music #1: Two Virgins. Lennon is furious at the handling of his album, which featured a photograph of a naked Lennon and Ono on the front cover. He accuses E.M.I. Music of forcing “all of their puppets around the world” to “not handle [the album] in any way”. He fumes at the handling of its sale in the United States, decrying how it was “sold discreetly wrapped in brown paper bags”. The overarching theme of this letter is Lennon’s frustration with his record label, including how they dealt with Yoko, writing about how her song, “Open Your Box”, was banned by E.M.I and how it “only came out in Britain in a censored form”. Lennon, one of the most mercurial artists of his era, was also known for his avant-garde style, especially in his solo material and personal works.

     Lennon wrote this letter on September 12th, 1971, shortly after his departure from the Beatles at the end of 1969. On October 11th, 1971, Lennon’s solo magnum opus, “Imagine”, was released. “Imagine” was the antidote for Lennon’s frustration at the time, peaking at number three in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming one of Lennon’s most enduring contributions to pop music.

The letter reads in full:

“Dear Martin George of Rock ink Yoko and I got Two Virgins out in spite of being part owners of Apple. We made it in May and they fucked us about till November! Then E.M.I. (who have the real control) wrote warning letter to all their puppets around the world telling them not to handle it in any way, (this after Sir Joe had told us face to face that he would do ‘everything he could’ to help us with it – and asking us for autographed copies!) in the states it came out on Tetragrammaphon which vanished leaves a few thousand spares (it was sold discreetly wrapped in brown paper bags.) Retailers everywhere were too scared to handle it and it sold very few – it’s very well known but not many people could actually get it. In most other major markets, e.g. Japan, it has never been released. On my last album in U.K., E.M.I. allowed me to sing ‘fuck’ but would allow the lyrics to be printed! Yoko’s*OPEN YOUR BOX was banned (again by an E.M.I. letter) everywhere. It only came out in Britain in censored form. Just thought you’d like to know. Love, J + Y”

     The letter is addressed to Martin George of Rock Ink, and is written on an 8 ½ x 11 inch paper in black pen. In several places, Lennon has added corrections in red marker. At the bottom of the letter, he signed his name as simply “J”, writing “Love, J & Y”. This letter is an incredibly special look into the mindset of one of the greatest musicians of all time. An incredibly rare piece of history, this letter would instantly become the centerpiece of any musical collection. This item comes with a LOA from Perry Cox and a LOA from JSA (Z58660) for the signature.

Incredibly Rare 1971 John Lennon and Yoko Ono Hand Written Letter Expressing Frustration With Record Label - Scripted in the Hand of Lennon (JSA)
This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
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Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Sunday, December 10, 2017.
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